So, there are no longer ‘kattas’ in Pune. No place for people to hang out and socialise in the real world. The usual public benches today are used by the retired (who have set up millions of ‘Jyeshtha Nagarik Sangha’ all over the city) or by cheap couples loitering around (by cheap, I mean the ugliest people of Pune. And oh, did I mention the girl is always wearing a scarf over her head?). We are also not the very modernist western society, where bars are the place to meet new people and scour for potential targets to date. So, where does it leave Punekars to look for hot singles outside their friend circle (all of who have the most ridiculous and absurd definition of single friends)? Social networking is the answer. Why else would social media platforms like Facebook be such a hit in a country like India, where even the neighbouring aunty who cannot start her computer without help has a profile on Facebook (and her friend request to you still lies pending)? Here are the stages of online dating to help you out.
[divider ]Phase 1: The Find[/divider]
It is not really easy finding a mate online. You have to go through scores of profiles:
- Where you have a lot of common friends but coincidentally, you two have never ever met in the real world. It seems, your friends just always introduce you to the wrong people.
- The ones who put up insanely hot pictures, have a lot of people in their friend list but never reply to a chat message. These are just weird women, most of the times!! Aaj kalchya murkha pori.
- The ones who use pictures of celebrities. You can never know how they really look. (90% of the times, they are disappointing!)
- Fake profiles. They will chat, accept your friend request (isn’t it obvious that something is fishy when an insanely hot chick accepts your random request?) but always tell you to like a particular page, comment here and there or just about tell you to pay for their recharge.
Amidst all these idiots, are real people, like you, looking for a real relationship. It will be after a lot of hard work, permutations and combinations, luck and eye for detail that you will find a genuine person. This is the first stage of the online dating game. Usually happens on Twitter, Facebook, some online dating website or a very unknown social networking website that probably just the two of you use. In our forefathers’ days, it happened on Orkut (which idiot replied katta or went too far back to the days of Ramayana and replied swayamvar?).
[divider ]Phase 2: The Connect[/divider]
So, your luck has paid off. You have befriended a genuine person (this is enough in the online dating world. You want a hot one? Look at you, you are finding people to date ONLINE. Lower your standards.). Now, the chat sessions are in progress. You use your best moves and they work; you finally connect. This is half the battle won. In a world where we imagine a person’s looks by judging their profile picture (which is the fairytale version of their real life), where we imagine their character traits, tone of voice, behaviour with no prior information, it’s not too difficult a battle to win, really. But again, this is only half the battle. You cannot commit just yet; you have take it to the next level (unless you intend to keep this one as one of those feeble relationships where you can escape from your real life lovers). Aaj kal chya lokanna mhanje ekani samadhan milatach nahi!
[divider ]Phase 3: The Test[/divider]
This is when you share with each other some vital private information. If you’re stupid enough to have given it all out in one of the previous stages, chances are, your account will be hacked and your integrity jeopardised (Yes. If you’re a man, you will be instantly made gay via your status and if you’re a woman, there will be images of some porn star on your name! If you’re one of the rare hot women who is, for some odd reason, searching for guys online, your pictures will be instantly used to make a thousand clone profiles). Yes, sharing information so openly results in that. So, be absolutely careful and sure while sharing personal information. This ranges from your phone number, postal address, Skype id, etc. The test usually starts with Whatsapp conversations (if you’re still using SMS, you are one of those who have met someone through Orkut. If you’re using BBM, Oh God! What’s wrong with you?) and ends with Skype video chats. It is after the test phase that the most important step arrives.
[divider ]Phase 4: The Meeting[/divider]
This is the end of the online dating game and a beginning of something real. Yes, the graphics outside are not so great and it involves actual human interaction! If you’ve been finding a mate too long, chances are, this is where you’re going to fail miserably. Learn to use your mouth to talk, learn the art of ‘not making weird hand gestures’ while talking, learn to appreciate your own real voice (not the one that is in your head), learn, learn a lot. Here, you cannot put glossy Photoshop tricks on your seemingly normal images; you have to use makeup. If you’re a guy, you can do nothing (unless you want to come off as gay. Metrosexuals and people who hang out online too often do not go hand in hand!). This is where it can all end or it can all actually happen (you are not a robot now, or Sheldon Cooper. You have to experience the human touch!). So, look forward to it. Choose a nice coffee shop and meet up. Have a pleasant conversation and do not expect it to be just like the convos in all the above-mentioned places. It will be different but it will be your ticket back to the real world. Enjoy it!
[divider ]Phase 5: Back to Phase 1[/divider]
If things go wrong during Phase 4, this is where you land up.